Vijaywada, Jan.30: At least 10 pilgrims were drowned and 30 others went missing after an overcrowded boat capsized in Godavari river in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday.
The country-made boat ferrying over 70 persons overturned at around 07:00 hours in the river near Biyyaputeppa village, 70 kms from Vijaywada, West Godavari District Collector A Vani Prasad said.
The victims, mostly belonging to fishermen families from Upputeru and nearby villages were proceeding to have a holy dip at a temple in Antarvedi, on the other side, when the mishap occured, official sources said.
So far, 10 bodies including that of four women and four children have been fished out and nine of them have been identified, they said.
According to reports reaching here, villagers rescued about 40 people, of which some of them swam to safety.
Rescue operations have been launched by East and West Godavari district administration officials, and a chopper from the Eastern Command Naval base with two boats and expert divers from Visakhapatnam have been summoned to trace the missing persons, Agricultural Minister N Raghuveera Reddy told reporters here.
An ex-gratia of Rs one lakh to the kin of the deceased has been announced, he said.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah has directed district in-charge ministers Vatti Vasanth Kumar (Rural Development) and P Satyanarayana (Arogyasri) to supervise and speed up the rescue work.
Antarvedi is an important pilgrim centre in Andhra Pradesh and devotees flock the place to take a holy dip on a full moon day.